Sprint's philanthropic arm, the Sprint Foundation, has announced that its 1Million project will reach more than 180,000 students in the United States in this school year. One of the project's goals is to bridge the digital divide among public school students in the country. Recent surveys have shown that internet connectivity is increasingly important for the learning experience, as 70 percent of the homework assigned by the teacher require accessing websites or searching the internet. However, around 5 million families have no internet access in their homes. Thus, the younger members of these families have to go to an area where they could access the internet and often, these areas may not be conducive to learning.
The Sprint Foundation aims to solve that by providing smartphones to eligible students along with 3GB of high-speed data for the entire four years that they attend high school. The handset may also be used as a hotspot, allowing students to access the internet and finish their homework through their laptops, tablets, or even desktop computers. The devices given away in the 1Million project are donated by companies like Motorola Mobility US, TCL Mobile US, ZTE USA, LG Electronics and several other companies. The group has also collaborated with My Brother's Keeper Alliance and EveryoneOn in order to identify the school districts that need wireless connectivity. Within these districts, 180,000 students from 1,300 high schools were identified as beneficiaries. Sprint, for its part, will provide wireless services and technical assistance amounting to approximately $2.16 billion for the five years that the program will be implemented.
Recent surveys among students who benefitted from the initial implementation of the program have shown how important internet connectivity is in improving their learning experience. Around 86 percent among the beneficiaries have said that their attitude towards learning has been improved as they now finish their homework in an area that is comfortable and secure. More than 80% of the subjects have indicated that they are now more motivated to graduate from high school and even a similar percentage answered that they will likely continue to college. Sprint Foundation hopes that this trend will continue once the program rolls out nationally this fall.